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The Five-Year Engagement

by

Jeff Nelson

While The Five-Year Engagement isn't as laugh-out-loud funny as I expected, it's still a very enjoyable film.

The Five-Year Engagement
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The scope of talent in the comedy genre seems to be quite small nowadays. Judd Apatow, Jason Segel, and Nicholas Stoller are all included in this group and all three of them are involved in The Five-Year Engagement. That alone should peak the interest of moviegoers looking to get a good laugh at the theater who may have also enjoyed films such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. However, I'd say that this movie pushes a bit more towards Forgetting Sarah Marshall when it comes to the story itself. It's more romantically driven than anything else. Anyways, given these three names alone, audiences are led to believe that this would be a vulgar piece of cinema, similar to the material seen in the other motion pictures that they have done. Surprisingly, this isn't the case as the three remain in the same comic region, although change the aim a little bit.

An engaged young couple discover that the more they get to know each other, the more unpredictable their commitment to getting married becomes. The Five-Year Engagement wants you to forget about the romantic comedies about finding somebody. Instead, this tells the story of the journey in between getting engaged and actually getting married. I can imagine this being a very stressful time for some people, so a lot of crazy things are bound to occur. I originally thought that this would be your typical hour and a half-long comedy. I was soon informed that this is a little over two hours long! Generally speaking, comedies that stretch too much longer than an hour and a half end up feeling like they drag a little bit. This was my primary concern with The Five-Year Engagement. Thankfully, it doesn't drag much. Writers Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller have created a script that some audiences weren't expecting from them. Yes, there's humor since this is a comedy after all, but it varies a lot. There isn't as much crude humor as I expected, but there's a little bit. The rest actually is rather sweet, and some didn't communicate so well. There are a few lines in the film where crickets could have been heard in the advanced screening I was at. They were clearly intended to be humorous, but just weren't funny. However, the majority of the humor is successful. Some is chuckle-worthy while other jokes had me laughing out loud. One of the largest successes of The Five-Year Engagement is how the characters connect. There aren't very many romantic comedies where viewers can actually identify with the roles seen on screen. The two leads are Tom Solomon and Violet Barnes. Both of them are likable and we're able to see them while together as well as living in the single life. This allows audiences to get to know the characters better without it feeling forced. While both characters can be funny, the supporting roles are able to steal the show every now and then as they deliver with flying colors. Tom's best friend Alex has a few ones and Violet's co-workers are just a few to mention that audiences will find rather hilarious at times. There's more depth to The Five-Year Engagement than one would expect. However, the script is decent and despite the fact that the ending is very predictable, it still feels somehow fulfilling and satisfying.

A romantic comedy is guaranteed to fall on its face if the two leads aren't able to create chemistry that moviegoers can believe. Jason Segel and Emily Blunt have absolutely no issues communicating this. They're both convincing enough in the relationship. Fans of Segel will see that everything they love about him has been carried over without any issues. Emily Blunt is delightful to watch on screen as she's quite believable in the role and delivers quite a few laughs. Even Alison Brie, who stars in the television show Community, plays Violet's sister. She's pretty funny in the scenes that she's given. There aren't any bad performances to be seen here. From the main roles to the supporting ones, this is an all around solid cast. They're all believable enough in the story and have filled that gap that so many movies in this genre leave open.

While The Five-Year Engagement isn't as laugh-out-loud funny as I expected, it's still a very enjoyable film. It still has worthwhile humor, but chooses to focus on the characters instead of throwing in joke after joke. This is something that both men and women would enjoy watching together. It has some crude humor, but also offers likable characters represented by a cast that works. Emily Blunt and Jason Segel have chemistry that is successful on screen. Some may wonder whether or not the two-hour run time is too long, but I assure you that it isn't a problem. There are a lot of smart ideas and decisions made by the writers here, although not all of them mesh together as well as they could have. The Five-Year Engagement is able to be vulgar at times, and sweet at others. The entire cast is ultimately able to deliver some laughs that should please its target audience.

My Rating = Three and One Half Stars

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